Privacy statement by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment

In order to perform its public tasks the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment needs to process personal data. The Ministry takes great care that such data is handled in an appropriate and careful manner. When processing personal data, our key concern is the interests of the individuals concerned.

What is privacy?

Under article 10 of the Constitution everyone has the right to respect for his or her privacy. This means that an individual's personal freedom may not be hindered or influenced by external factors, and that it is up to the individual to decide who obtains what information about him or her.

The EU’s new privacy legislation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), imposes requirements on organisations regarding the processing of personal data.

What is personal data?

Personal data refers to any information concerning an identified or identifiable natural person. This includes a person's name, address and citizen service number (BSN), as well as their medical record, religion or ethnic origin. Such data describes a person's physical, genetic, psychological, economic, cultural and/or social identity.

What does 'processing’ involve?

The term ‘processing’ includes all activities performed with personal data, such as collection, recording, organisation, structuring, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, disclosure by transmission, dissemination, combination, restriction and destruction.

What personal data does the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment process?

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment processes different types of personal data, depending on the situation. For example, we may process your personal data if you make use of our services. But we may also be required to do so by law. The legal basis for processing data often lies in this kind of statutory requirement, but it can also stem from legal agreements, such as employment contracts with staff of the Ministry.

Does the Ministry share personal data with third parties?

The Ministry does not sell personal data to third parties, and shares such data only if it is necessary in order to achieve the purpose described or to meet a statutory requirement. If we share personal data with non-departmental agencies (such as the Employee Insurance Agency and the Social Insurance Bank), we always draw up processing agreements with them. We also make these agreements with companies that process personal data on our behalf (for example as part of policy research). These set out clear arrangements regarding responsibilities and the appropriate handling of data, for example in the area of information security.

How is personal data protected?

Our information security measures are determined by means of risk assessment, in order to ensure that the measures we take are appropriate for the data concerned. For example, we restrict access to personal data to those who need such access in order to perform their tasks. If necessary the data we process is pseudonymised and encrypted. This prevents any unlawful access to, or unlawful destruction or amendment of, personal data.

How long is personal data kept?

The Ministry retains personal data for no longer than is necessary to achieve the purpose for which it was processed. However, in some cases we have to comply with retention periods laid down in law, such as the Public Records Act and tax legislation. CVs and correspondence relating to staff recruitment are generally kept for four weeks, for example, while payroll records are stored for at least seven years.

Individual rights

You have a range of different rights when it comes to your personal data. These are explained below.

  • Right of access: you are entitled to see what personal data we have processed.
  • Right to rectification: you are entitled to have personal data rectified if it is not, or is no longer, accurate or complete.
  • Right to erasure (‘right to be forgotten’): under certain circumstances you are entitled to have data erased, for example if the data in question was processed unlawfully.
  • Right to restriction of processing: you are entitled to have processing of your data halted for a temporary period.
  • Right to object: you are entitled to object to the processing of your data providing such processing is performed in the public interest. 
  • Right to data portability: you are entitled to receive and transmit digital personal data processed by automated means on the basis of consent or agreement.
  • Right not to be subject to automated individual decision-making, including profiling: if automatic individual decision-making produces legal effects, it is possible in some circumstances to obtain human intervention on the part of the data controller.

You can find a more detailed explanation of these rights on the website of the Data Protection Authority.

You can submit a request by contacting the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. We try to respond to requests within four weeks. To help us respond efficiently and effectively, we ask that you communicate your request as clearly as possible. For example, it would help us if you could explain the background to your request. 

When making your request, please include a copy of a valid form of ID on which your photo and citizen service number (BSN) are blanked out. You can do this by using the KopieID smartphone app or simply by covering or removing these details from a hard copy. We are unable to deal with your request unless you provide a valid form of ID. Once your identity has been established, the copy of your ID is immediately erased.

Who can I contact at the Ministry?

Our data protection officer is responsible for monitoring the application of and compliance with privacy legislation within the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. The interests and privacy of individuals is their primary concern.

If you have a general question regarding privacy for the data protection officer, you can write to the following postal or email addresses:

Jessica Liu, Data Protection Officer

Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment
Postbus 90801
The Netherlands

Read more about privacy and central government.

If you still have questions after contacting the data protection officer or you wish to lodge a complaint, please contact the Data Protection Authority.